Tuesday, 1 February 2011

At The Sign Of The Four Poster!


My sister in law Denise gave us a basket of bulbs at Christmas – the first flower, a lovely tall pink tulip, has just bloomed. There are lots of other green shoots in the baskets – I cannot wait to see what emerges from them!

Denise also gave me a tea towel. It is a reproduction of a 1928 advertising poster from Heal’s Furniture Store in London. In 2010 the store celebrated 200 years in business and this was one of the special celebratory products.

I’ve just put it in a clip-frame and plan to hang it in the kitchen at Cornerstones.


I love the way it shows the different floors and departments in the store. If you go to the shop now, you can still climb the Cecil Brewer staircase and see this bronze cat.

cat mascot

In the 1920’s, one of the young women working in the store started the story that “If you touch the cat’s paw, it will grant you a wish” In a short space of time, it seemed as if everyone passing reached out to the feline! Then a customer paid £40 for the ornament. Ambrose Heal, the owner, cancelled the sale, and declared the cat to be the Official Store Mascot!

capture the caslteThe cat has remained on the staircase ever since [to be precise, it is a serval – a wild African cat]

The woman who started the story was Dodie Smith – later the author of “I Capture the Castle”, and “101 Dalmations”

The store’s website has a fascinating history section [here] including information about one of my favourite Heal’s designers, Lucienne Day, who died last year.

Most of Cornerstones is furnished with hand-me-down furniture, or inexpensive IKEA stuff. So it will be pleasant to have at least one item from this iconic store on display – even if it is only a tea towel in a clip frame!


  1. At least the poster won't need polishing! ~Liz

  2. ooh lovely item and what a lovely story.

  3. I think the British do tea towels better than anyone else in the world. I still have a 2008 bank calendar tea towel my friend's mother brought me from Belfast--it's hanging up in my kitchen, and I shall never take it down.

    Lovely story!


    P.S. And I loved your thank you note story!


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